Illinois Department of Labor Adopts Federal OSHA ETS Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing

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Illinois Department of Labor Adopts Federal OSHA ETS Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing

Jan 12, 2022

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As we previously reported in our December 22, 2021, In Brief, the U.S. Supreme Court may decide the fate of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workforce is vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. On January 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court held an oral argument related to the ETS and whether OSHA exceeded its authority by implementing the ETS. We anticipate that the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in the next few weeks. 

After the federal OSHA published the ETS, the State of Illinois was required to either amend its State Approved OSHA standards to be identical to the ETS – or implement its own standards that are at least as effective as the ETS. On January 7, 2022 – the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard the oral argument – the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) filed rules formally adopting State Approved OSHA standards identical to the ETS. (Refer to our previous In Brief for the key components of the ETS).  Therefore, Illinois employers, including public school districts, community colleges, libraries, park districts, and other units of local government with 100 or more employees are subject to the ETS.

 IDOL’s website indicates that the agency’s adoption of the ETS is effective immediately. However, the website notes that employers subject to the ETS must “begin to come into compliance” with the ETS by January 24, 2022 – and must establish and implement their policy on vaccination by February 24, 2022. Employers subject to the ETS must ensure that unvaccinated employees are tested for COVID-19 at least weekly, beginning March 25, 2022. The ETS is scheduled to expire on July 24, 2022. A complete table of compliance deadlines can be found on IDOL’s website.

IDOL’s standard, which adopts the federal ETS, may change depending on the Supreme Court’s forthcoming ruling. We will continue to monitor the status of the decision from the Supreme Court. In the meantime, affected employers should strongly consider initial steps to comply in light of the upcoming effective dates. Please contact any Robbins Schwartz attorney for questions related to compliance with the ETS.